tv Arizona Gov. Ducey Holds Coronavirus Briefing CSPAN July 17, 2020 5:37am-7:00am EDT
live, daily, unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house. president trump our countries are linked on travel. >> our ongoing efforts to focus on a mission to save lives, meet the needs of our states, her health care workers. >> along with briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, supreme court oral arguments and decisions. >> thanks for saying hello, everybody. >> and the latest from campaign 2020. >> your calls and comments welcome. >> the of part of the conversation every be a part of the conversation -- be a part of our conversation every day. if you miss any part, visit c-span.org or this and on the go with the free c-span radio app. >> arizona governor doug ducey briefed reporters on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic amid increasing numbers of coronavirus cases. governor ducey announced the new executive order, extending the eviction moratorium on
residential properties until october 31. gov. ducey: good afternoon, everyone. thank you for joining us today. i'm joined today by dr. tara criss on my right and nick mcguire on my left, the leaders of department and health services and the national guard. i want to give you the latest update on where we are in arizona. and i want to begin again by just saying thank you to all our health care workers, all our nurses and doctors. i've talked about this month as our maximum challenge to date. this month t as our maximum challenge to date. we know how hard they are working. i want them to know how grateful
we are, how we appreciate what they do for our citizens. to the citizens i want to say thank you, as well. we will share some things in terms of the direction arizona is going. only be making improvements with your participation, partnership and commitment to your fellow brothers and sisters and neighbors and friends. thank youbegin with a to everyone, but specifically to those folks in the health care industry today. i haveto remind you, been saying this for several weeks, you are safer at home. this virus is widespread in our in our country. people have been listening to this message and it has been making a difference. here are the latest numbers from the state of arizona. total covid-19 cases.
1 average cases per week for the week of june 28. 49 cases per week for the week of july 5. soulswe have lost 2,492 in arizona. i want to say to all of our system -- citizens, i know the sacrifices you have had to make, but coronavirus has touched no one more closely than those directly affected with the loss of a loved one. our hearts and prayers remain with all of those families and the actions they take going forward will be to minimize virus contraction, sickness, and any death. -- in terms ofn
our direction, emergency rooms, often a leading indicator. you go to the emergency room when you get sick, then you can go to a hospital bed. that is trending downward. our covid patient icu hospital bed use, that is up. surge in cases we had was in june. those who became sick from the emergency room to a hospital bed to the icu. our percentage of positive tests, that is trending down for the first time in some time. that is a good sign and a good direction. let's take a look at the covid-like illness surveillance. that is the blue line. influenza-like illness surveillance.
the numbers were inverted as far as december. the orange line was the flu, and it was flat. the covid line, the blue line, was flat. all the way up and including to the stay-at-home order, the blue behaved like the flu the entire time through this. coming out of the stay-at-home order, if you watch the covid line all the way until june, it remained flat and then a severe spike up over the next several weeks. the first downward trajectory of the covid-like illness surveillance in this past week. downtty dramatic leg there. that is a direct effect of the decisions arizonans have made over the past week. we can see more of this if we do more of that. i want to talk about the
covid-19 cases by day. those of you that can see that screen and see where june comes in, you might recall for weeks and weeks i would come in and present this slide and say, there is not much of a trend here. there was a lot of data and information. weeks ago ior four said there is a trend and it is going in the wrong direction. it continued in the wrong direction for several more weeks. evidencesee the first of the trend headed in the right direction, in terms of fewer cases. we need to continue to press this to have fewer cases, which will result in fewer sicknesses, fewer hospitalizations, fewer deaths. percentage of positive tests. we had weeks, the gold line is
the percent positivity. the blue mountain is the number of tests that are done, both pcr tests -- this is all pcr tests. the line is percent positivity. we had weeks where the line was 5.1, 4.9 and 5.9% positivity. then, through june we had weeks where it was above 20% for several weeks. we now have a trending downward and we need to continue to push that downward. we will talk about how we do that. to show you where we are with hospital capacity, the orange line are -- our covid cases, they began in june. the graph i am showing you does not include the 2,660 additional
surge beds which we have not had to use up until this point. this is the intensive care unit. again, the orange line shows an increase in covid-like illness inside our icu's. pretty flat until june. that is when the increase happened. the 600s not include additional icu surge beds which have not had to be used, so we retain capacity. this is ventilators for covid-19. the covid use of ventilators is increasing again. that began in june. lots of capacity remains. this is testing by day. test, ther serology orange part of the graph. the diagnostic is pcr.
you can see an ever-increasing amount of tests in the state of arizona. we need even more. 950,000 tests in the state of arizona and more on the way. we will talk about why that will be important and how to apply that knowledge. let's talk very quickly about recent actions we have taken with the intention to slow the spread of this virus. prohibiting large gatherings. the local mask ordinances that have gone into effect in nearly all parts of our state. the fact we have pause to the operation of gyms, bars, nightclubs, water parks and tubing. we delayed the first day of school and reduced restaurant muchity to 50% with tighter guidance.
in since thiseen began, and we have more knowledge about the coronavirus, is the very unhappy but necessary business of breaking andarge gatherings congregations of adults. the virus is highly contagious and it spreads in groups. andfact that bars and gyms movie theaters, no concerts or spring-training or large events happening, large venues are not in business, college sports, major league baseball, nba, nfl, may be preparing to play and compete, but that does not include in-stadium fans. that is where we are today in arizona. that has been the effort along with what we have done
previously, and what we have done in the last several weeks to break up those larger gatherings of adults. also, i want to say thank you to arizonans, to our local mayors and county supervisors. this effort to get people wearing a mask in the state of arizona, nearly 90% of our state now has a local mask ordinance. i want to say thank you not only to the leaders, but the citizens, for your compliance. it is making a difference and we will show you the difference it has made. through and gone the challenges i am sharing with normal andona's new it is our new normal for the foreseeable future. i want to ask people to get their heads around that, that this will be a challenge that will be ongoing for the
foreseeable future. the better decisions we make now, the better habits and disciplines and rigor, the more success, the more people we will save and protect around the coronavirus. from theur graph arizona department of health services. many folks on the coronavirus task force, dr. deborah birx for reduction,about risk about making better decisions, so you can avoid contracting this virus and protect others. if you were to look at the cdc texas healthe website or california health website, you would find similar charts like these, different graphics. these are informed by public health. this is not my opinion, this is
not senior staff's opinion. this is the opinion of public health experts. if you want to make better decisions, take a look at this graph. have done a lot around our higher risk-type activities to limit them in the used of arizona and government guidance mandate when necessary. let's take a look at the results. let's see where we are. i introduced this number three weeks ago. number, ther0 average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. this is how the disease is spread. if you remember, i shared this on june 29. 1.18 in the state of arizona.
if you go to the far left of the graph, you can see that is where the highest numbers are. to the right, those are states below one. that is the objective. you want to be below one, you will naturally have decreasing cases. moveds later arizona had eight basis points to 1.1 on this graph. that was after we started to ask please make decisions around being safer at home. we saw a pretty dramatic movement. here we are now the next week, moving 12 more basis points. have moved 20 points in less than three weeks and today arizona is below one. 0.98. at
yesterday we were at 0.97. if you want to help our doctors, nurses, health-care workers, if you want to lighten the heavy burden they had -- have, the decisions you make will have something to do with that. today arizona is below 1. to show where we are in andarison to other states the fact of your good decisions and actions that you have made have put us below one. other stateshere are, how fluid this number can be, and how dramatically we moved from one side of the graph in less than three weeks. thank you very much. what you're doing is making a difference in arizona. let's take a look at another graphic that will show how the
number of cases have changed from last week to this week. this is the new york times graphic. they show it for every state and country in the nation. this is how you can determine hotspots. the blue part of the map is in decline. the red and darker colors is where the virus is spreading in the yellow is where it is stabilizing. look at the mounting change in arizona's map in one week. week to week, those are the good decisions arizonans are making across the state. thank you. newly reported cases in the state of arizona. as you can see, we were flat from march to april to may until june. a rapid rise upward, a flattening, and the beginnings
of a slight decline. we want to push that decline further. we want to do more of what we are doing now, but much of this gives us reason to be very cautious, but still have hope and optimism for what is possible in the very near future in the state of arizona. we do look at other national outlets in terms of what is happening. this is the new york times showing what is happening across the country. flat insee our nation april, may and through june. a dramatic spike up in july. decline, showing how dangerous this virus is and how fast it moves. the rest of the country is experiencing much of the increase we had in june in july
in macro numbers. this is another graphic in the times that shows where new cases are increasing. for weeks and weeks we were not on this page. fermi it seems like we have been forever on this page. page, yourh this state, all the statistics and graphics come up. you can see how other states are doing and what best practices or interventions are making a difference. i got up very early this monday morning and pulled up this stage. i kept looking at it. i thought maybe it was not fitting on my phone and i went and got my ipad. on this page on monday where new cases are increasing i could not find arizona because arizona was not there. arizona had moved to a new page.
states on this page, along with washington, d.c. and the virgin islands. i moved to this page where new cases are mostly the same. increase to arom flattening. where we want to be is the page below that. that is where new cases are decreasing. today there are only two states maine.delaware and that is the aspirational goal of where we want to be and we can get that done. we should view these metrics and the results we have with caution. but like i said, we have made some changes in the last three weeks and this is the first good news we have had since. last, if you want to look at the country, firehe engine red is where cases are
increasing. along with orange. blue is where they are decreasing. yellow is where they are stabilizing. take a look at where arizona is and whatlast two weeks a difference it made in our state. if those of you, and i do get feedback on different sources i use, some people reach out and preferred that i would not use the new york times. let's take a look to cnn. see where it is or burgundy it is rising. where it is green, it is leveling or going down. where it is yellow, it is studying. arizona is in the green. there are not many states in the green. this has been a difference in
the last week because of the actions arizonans have taken over the last two weeks. sources, ifrom media think it is important to point out, hear from subject matter experts. let's hear it from the standard-bearer, and that is johns hopkins university of medicine. these are case trends in the united states. d.c. and puerto rico, a three day moving average. aree is a data green is downward trend, red is an upward trend. two orye, there are only three states that are green and arizona has been green for several days on a three day moving average. news, but i better also want to say so the people understand the truth of what is in front of us, there is no end in sight today.
that is why i talk about the foreseeable future. there will be no victory laps. what we can take from here is knowledge of what difference we can make in the covid-19 in ourc in our state country for the foreseeable future. to me the take away is positive , responsibleons personal decisions, and taking personal responsibility for what happens will make a difference, and better results. we want to press on, stay the course and do more of this. there can be no letting up. if we abandon evidence from the we have weeks, what seen in these results. i ask for your help. people have responded. i am grateful. what you are doing is saving
lives, protecting people, and lightening the heavy load for our health care workers. there can be no substitutes for things like masking up in arizona. this is making a real difference. we are seeing nearly 90% of our state doing this with wide compliance. the state, in addition to asking people to mask up and advocating, is funding has -- psa's and ensuring access to masks for vulnerable arizonans. we will have free, nonmedical cloth masks for arizonans 65 or older, or medically vulnerable, starting tomorrow. if you need a mask or want a .gov you can visit azhealth to submit the order.
licensed care facilities provide direct shipments to meet the inds of their residents these categories. in addition to masks, physically distancing, keeping that distance between yourself and others, continuing to wash your hands, and remember you are safer at home. these are the things that today are making a difference in our state. we want to continue doing them at a more widespread and consistent basis. thist to transition from and talk about education. arizona will be open for learning. that is what is in front of us in the coming school year. withe been visiting a lot public k-12 education leaders, school leaders and superintendents, hearing from alongpals and others, with our fine public
universities, visiting with dr. michael crow, dr. robbins and rita chang, to get their input on best practices and what is possible in this next school year. arizona will be open for learning this school year. we have put a date out there. about five weeks away. we have gotten the most recent input from public school superintendents. i will be sitting down and working with kathy hoffman, along with other constituencies, to get the best guidance on what to do going forward. i know people want clarity around this. we are going to provide clarity. our kids are going to be learning in the fall. toare going to do our best conduct the most positive educational year we can, and i will provide the most specific
guidance i can. i will work with the superintendent hoffman on that, and expect that next week. that will include additional flexibilities to our schools around the state. i want to touch on expanded testing in our state. we touched on project catapult last week. this is a project that will have us doing 35,000 tests a day by the end of july. i showed you today that currently with all the tests we have done over this time, we are tests.000 plus at the end of july we will have the capacity to conduct one million tests a month. by the end of august, nearly 2 million tests a month. this gives us more knowledge of the virus. you can think about helpful this will be in schools and operating
businesses. not knowledge will be power to make better decisions and protect more people. i also want to say thank you to dr. michael crow and the innovators at arizona state university. they introduced the first of its kind covid-19 testing. saliva-based, pain-free, and has a number of advantages. the state will continue to partner with the university to ramp up this kind of testing. always, has big plans for how this testing can affect life at the inverse of the level for arizona -- at the university level for arizona state and others. sites forrikeforce those that need it. this will begin july 17 for 12 straight days. i want to say thank you you to our federal government and the
administration for their help. it is a partnership with the department of health to provide diagnostic testing along with cloth face coverings, provided to all participants. two locations, south mountain park. you can see the address. and maryvale high school, beginning july 17 for 12 straight days. to ensure an appointment, preregister. surge testingh.gov/ . i want to give you a graphic on what we have done to date on this issue. i am not going to read through every bullet point on this slide, but it goes from unemployment benefits to things that help our schools and municipalities. things to help with supply
chain, personal protective equipment, contact tracing, shoring up our high schools. a lot of planning for a safe and healthy future in arizona, while protecting our most vulnerable, people in a, position of potential eviction, making sure people do not go hungry in the state of arizona. overotal on this one pages $6.7 billion that has gone to the state of arizona. there will be more. investing an additional $50 million deposit to the public health fund. with that, we will go to the doctor for a public health update. >> thank you, governor. we want to remind everybody, know the risk of the activities you are doing if you are leaving your home.
there are several questions you should be asking yourself as you get ready to leave. you want to know how many people will you interact with. the number of people you come into contact with increases the risk, especially if they are not in your household. will you be able to keep six feet of space between you and others? will you be indoors or outdoors? outdoors has more ventilation, more space. if you are indoors at closer proximity it puts you at higher risk. also, how long will you be interacting with other people? the more contact, the higher your risk for catching covid-19. talk about a couple resources we are providing to our we know our hospitals have been on the front lines of the covid-19 response since march. we announced last week we are implementing a staffing initiative.
we have aweek, contract withviziant -- with viziant. the way we determine which hospitals get staffing, our first priority was to keep their communities. we can transfer patients to the appropriate level of care at the appropriate time so they can get the care they need. areas, ifin rural they have more staffing, they can retain patients. they were prioritized. especially those who had a high number of transfers. the second priority was our metropolitan hospitals that transfersh numbers of through the arizona surge line. staffing, they have been granted to each health system to apply,
nurses will be provided to aid 21 hospitals around the state. it is 250 inpatient nurses and 334 critical-care nurses. they will staff your icu beds. 74% of those nurses were provided to our central and southern regions. acuity those high hospitals have a significant amount of the transferred patients. the other thing we prioritized, if the hospital was able to provide a specific capacity. we wanted them to have that staffing that could support those activities. those will be on the ground within the next week to 10 days. we are very excited we were able to offer that. talked about the post acute care initiative. we have a number of patients in
the hospital that could be discharged if they had somewhere besides the home to go to. that could be a skilled nursing facility, hospice, home health. last weekive order required those entities to report into our postacute care tracking dashboard. the department has provided 10 billion -- $10 million to expand capacity. are in the negotiation of a contract with the skilled nursing facility system. they have covid wards already. this contract has the potential to add up to 330 additional beds statewide. we are engaging with other stakeholders to identify other postacute options. we are working on making sure
everyone knows how to utilize that dashboard so discharge planners can use that to get patients out of the hospital and into a different environment. gov. ducey: thank you, very much dr. --doctor. and thank you to your team. i know how hard you are working. and now it major general michael mcguire. general mcguire: thank you, governor. we have been providing capacity to the testing, provided by hhs and fema. the 60,000 test will begin tomorrow. federal -- fellow citizens use the health care website to preregister.
we plan to do 2500 test each day at the two sites for a total of 5000. police ande phoenix national guardsmen. ine will be assisting registration and logistics and wraparound services. our hhs contracted health care workers will do a quick self-administered test, pcr testing. we have a contract with an out-of-state lab so we don't put additional pressure on our state lab. we're looking to get those turned around in 24 to 78 hours. additionally, the rural testing. we completed white mountain apache tests yesterday and today. the community of white river. 22 of our national guardsmen
assisting our tribal partners. we are continuing to work to ensure the logistics and food supply, looking to extend our mission beyond the 24th of july in the food bank and food distribution missions we have been running out-of-state to help the increased demand. gov. ducey: thank you, and thank you for the good work of the guard. you and your team have been on every front route the pandemic. -- throughout the pandemic. give an update on not only public health, but what is happening with arizona families, especially families displaced through this. let's start with pandemic unemployment assistance and relief. over $6.4 billion in unemployment benefit claims have
been paid to date, helping over 958,000 arizonans. it is almost impossible to get your head around that number. before the pandemic struck, i think we had less than 17,000 people in our state on unemployment. today it is over 958,000. thatt people to be aware our receiving these benefits we are experiencing fraud attempts. they have been witnessed in other states. we are working with the fbi and -- itment of level two realize this may have caused some inconvenience or slight interruption in some of your payments. we think we have our hands around that. there will be more to follow. i also want to talk about the
housing protections for arizonans protected by covid-19. it has been sometime since we talked about the march 24 executive order to delay evictions for those impacted by covid-19. the covid-19hed rental assistance program administered by the action agencies. to date we put $1.2 million plus provided to arizona renters. the order is scheduled to expire july 25. along an update on this, with a new executive order extending the eviction moratorium on residential evictions until october 31. along with money for community action agencies to improve staffing and administration of rental assistance programs, providing assistance to families and individuals faster.
in addition, $5 million to establish the foreclosure prevention program. this will provide targeted relief to homeowners who rely on income from tenants, to help them avoid foreclosure. state and local governments have directed more than $80 million on programs to assist renters and prevent homelessness. $1.6 milliontion from the u.s. department of housing grant was distributed to combat homelessness. this will support counseling services, guidance on independent living, rental assistance, as well as homeless shelters throughout the state. , $250,000 for the state white housing program,
which finds housing for homeless individuals. $300,000 to st. vincent depaul and open hearts, providing arizonans in need with rental assistance and services.tion to help ofing forward, our plan action will remain to be a responsible approach. it is going to be guided by public health. dramaticallyto ramp up testing facilities to identify these infections by increasing lab capacity, along with additional collection sites focusing on the areas in our state and people who need it most. we will continue contact tracing to contain the spread. we are going to monitor the efficacy of all our mitigation
strategies and make changes and adjustment as necessary. i was asked a lot this past week, with all the metrics out there, people wanted to simplify the metrics they could find to see if arizona was going in the right direction. which metrics what i recommend? the public education leaders wanted us to find one metric. i wish that there were one metric to simplify decision-making. i wanted to point out four different metrics to give an overview. with the way we will ramp up testing of 35,000 a day at the end of july, and 65,000 at the end of august, you will see more cases. the way to measure your level of concern on those cases is the
percent positivity rate. we will increase the testing and knowledge of how we are doing. we want to see the positivity rate coming down at the state and county level. you can imagine from logic and 54,000 teste that 9 we have done to date have been done on sick people and symptomatic people and people who have been exposed to covid-19. there is a great demand for many people across the state who are not sick or symptomatic who want a test. this should allow us to bring the positivity rate by its very nature. the next thing is the r0. arizonans are safer at home.
indicates the speed of the virus. if you watch the mobility and the r0 you can help impact what is happening in arizona. capacity is something we think about every day of the week and month. that is capacity in our fine hospitals and people where -- places where we can help people. but also our capacity of boots nurses,round, doctors, health care staff and professionals, emergency , people helping us from out-of-state. next steps in terms of action, please, keep doing what you are doing. wear our mask. -- a mask. wash your hands. physically distance. stay-at-home.
if you do these patriotic duties, you will protect people and livelihoods. and you will remove some of the burden that is on all of our state and country's health care providers. a always, remember, wear mask. the virus is widespread. you are safer at home. with that, let's moved questions. know if you have seen this yet today. the white house press secretary said [indiscernible] should not stand in the way of opening schools. the president said he expects schools to be open and he will pressure governors into doing that. have you felt pressure from the president yet and how much will
what the white house says influence your decisions? gov. ducey: i will continue to let public health be my guide. i have not seen that. there was a lot of breaking news every day. i will do what is right for arizona. i am not going to let politics get in the way of this. i want to do what is right for our state, our kids. our decisions to date have been informed by public health. >> i wanted to talk to you about where we are today in the hasonse to this epidemic, led the county to the point they are bringing in medical examiners working under surge capacity to handle the dead bodies. i wanted to ask you, when you look back at this response, and it has not been successful to
this point, do you think you need to change up staff, bringing new perspectives, new people, to ensure this does not happen again? gov. ducey: i want to say i am very confident with what we know now we can certainly avoid the type of increase in cases that we have seen. i have incredible confidence in the department of health services and the people advising me on this. doctor, if you would talk about what is happening at the county isilities and how that affected by the environment of covid. >> absolutely. when we look at fatalities management there is a statewide plan. every summer we see an increase in the number of deaths. if you look at what the medical examiner is looking at, the majority of those deaths are not covid related. they are the unexplained deaths that need to be investigated.
we are working with hospitals to make sure they have more capacity, but one of the normal elements is to bring in refrigerated trucks. deaths, is that a successful response? deathucey: we mourn every that we have. we do not want to have deaths. we know if we can reduce the spread of the virus and for weeks and weeks, months and months, we were slow in terms of case count. we did have that spike in terms of june. we made adjustments. this is something where you want to stay vigilant, have flexibility and be humble. we know more today and i am confident we will make better informed decisions going forward. >> i have one follow-up about the r0. you said it is a metric to watch.
you said on june 29 it was that 1.18. you said that is an example where you do not want the state to be. on may 15, yet you opened up the state anyway. this is a metric you are now saying is something to watch. gov. ducey: it is something you have to watch. the metrics move. we did not have the spike in cases we have today on may 15. in hindsight, everything is crystal clear. >> [indiscernible] gov. ducey: the other thing i termso say, on may 15, in of where we were with positivity, another metric we look at, it had slowed to a crawl. there are number of metrics we look at in terms of making these decisions. >> go back to unemployment.
unless congress comes through with something quickly, a lot of arizonans will see a substantial decrease in unemployment benefits very soon. what are we doing at a state level to ensure a lot of jobless arizonans are not getting by on $240 a week? gov. ducey: to date through the pandemic, since congress has been able to act, we have been able to provide displaced a week out of the department of economic services. this is something we have been talking with the delegation about, talking with the white house about as well. there is a fourth package coming. we are not sure exactly what it will be. we will advocate for what is in the best interest of arizona and arizonans. to date we have been able to the
best of our ability, $6.4 billion to ensure no one falls through the crack's or the social safety net, over time of course we will see arizonans, w here possible and safe, returned to work. i do not often get the opportunity to give compliments to congress, but i will say they provided the resources to our state through this pandemic. i think everybody realizes congress almost always accept acts at theute. -- last minute. arizona is in a position where we have options. explore those options when and if necessary. it is something that is topical
among our senior staff. >> speaking of getting back to work, lauren peterson commented people won't go back to work when unemployment insurance is cut. do you share that outlook? is that possible when some industries will be operating at limited capacity, will be closed? is that a reasonable expectation? gov. ducey: we want to make sure people don't fall through the cracks. we do not want to incent somebody to not go back to work. in the environment we are in right now, most people want to work. they would like to go back to their job if they are able. the last month we have seen 19,700 arizonans returned to work. we want to do the right thing and that will guide us. >> do people feel safe to go back to work at a time like this? gov. ducey: it depends who you
are and where you are working. your personal situation. governor, you touted positive news in today's briefing, but the reality is, the largest county they are bringing in 14 coolers to find a place to store the dead bodies, something that has not been done in 10 years. bodies are not able to be stored in a normal way now. the fact is, bodies are adding up, space is running out. why should anyone believe what you're saying? first, you're mischaracterizing what is happening in relation to covid-19 and dr. christ can inform the rest of that and what happens in the state of arizona. we are headed in a better trajectory. went weeks and months with a slow increase in cases. now we are going in the right direction again.
arizonans have been helpful, they have been partners and part of this. i asked them to do that. hang on. so people understand what is happening in the news reported from the county level, again, reiterate for people who were not listening. coolers byered 14 next week to get them. working closely with maricopa county to get a plan. each summer we see increased deaths due to heat related illness. we are also seeing increased deaths unfortunately due to suicide and drug overdoses. in addition, we have the covid related deaths. maricoparking with county on trying to get the decedents out of the medical examiner's office and into funeral homes for final disposition, because they are almost at capacity.
the rest of the state has capacity to handle any of the decedents, or those who need care. we continue to work and identify solutions for hospitals. >> maricopa county has not ordered coolers in 10 years. governor, what guides your decision, politics, economy, science? you say public health, but former health officials, citizens and businesses think you're decisions are half measured. are you trying to protect your image rather than make tough decisions? gov. ducey: there are a lot of critics out there. if i listened to all my critics i would not have time to focus on this pandemic. i am going to make the best possible decisions, informed by public health, do the right thing, and do my best. i want you to know there are two
very loud lobbies out there. one is a lock it down lobby. they want to see everything locked down. they were not happy when we had a stay home -- they were happy when we had a stay-at-home order. the other very loud lobby is the government is not going to tell me what to do lobby. a very american thing to think and say. not during a pandemic. both of these, pretty loud, pretty large constituencies. think of the decisions i made because i am not following public polling. i am following public health. i am not going to please the locket down forever lobby, and the people who do not want to make decisions to help people are not very happy either. that is why i will follow public
health. it will not be popular, but i know in my heart it is the right thing to do. that will guide decision-making going forward. >> my last question, the maps you show, the white house put out a report on the 14th. it showed most of arizona in dark orange for new cases. how do you pick which charts you will show us? do they fit your narrative? gov. ducey: you should go to the covid traffic -- covid tracking project. for the arizona an a+ information that comes out. that is on the website, azhealth.gov. every map that has been put out there is reflective of the sources independent. the new york times and cnn validated what our own internal information is. >> [indiscernible]
you are on mute. >> sorry about that. can you hear me? good afternoon. my question is about testing in long care facilities. hhs -- there should be weekly testing of staff. i know there have beentwo rounds of testing in nursing homes. what is the status of testing? can we expect weekly testing of staff? that seems to be the tet -- the step toward reopening. since been 19 weeks people have had in person visits with families. rapid testing results i hear are critical to the reopening. and weekly testing of staff or
daily, what is the latest on that and the reopening? dr. christ: thank you, kathy. that is a great question. we want anyone in a long-term care facility to spend time with loved ones. we know it has been a long time. we are working with federal partners. they will be distributing rapid antigen test that can be done in a quick period of time, along with testing kits. that will allow them to test staff weekly and patients and visitors. we will work with those long-term care facilities to have the testing kits they need. we are starting the assisted living testing so we can move to that. some of that will be done with grants. some is arranged through the department of health services. >> will that be ongoing?
skilled nursing facilities are evenated, others are not, though the population is similar. i am curious. if the skilled nursing facilities are getting rapid test, assisted living, will that be ongoing? live inarizonans assisted living. dr. christ: we are taking a look at that. our priority would be assisted living centers. we are looking at the capacity. >> the ongoing testing is not happening? you are still in the planning process? dr. christ: yes, that is still in the planning process. the other thing i want to say to kathy, we should add that to our list of incentives, to remember safer at home and to wear a mask and a socially
distance. we do have guidance available, when we get to a safer area in terms of case and spread where people can visit their loved testing.de a nursing i know how much people want to do that. we want you to do it in a safe way. we need to continue this downward trajectory. >> [indiscernible] a couple questions. st. luke's. is there an update you have? i know you signed a lease with the building. is that the same as the skilled nursing facility introduced in the graph? they are like for the actual processing, at the same time, what do you guys see as the future of expanded
rapid testing here in the state? and my one other piece here is more along the lines of not from the shut it down lobby but i was just talking with an i.c., nurse who spent two months may and june in new york. and he said he was disheartened and came back and now working out of a hospital here and compared to what he saw in new york, and essentially how the streets were shut down and folks took it seriously, and were able to bring their case number down quite rapidly, he said he came back here and he's concerned that this is just going to be prolonged. and he said he's encouraged to see those hospitalizations plateau in some of these early indicators but we saw the percent positive number 20%. do folks like shannon sims that i.c.u. nurse, what would you tell him in terms of why not take those additional steps of not shutting down like indoor dining at this point? gov. ducey: we touched on st. luke's and testing and i'll talk about the policies. dr. crist: for st. luke's we do have st. luke's ready as a warm site and a contractor that could come in and provide the
equipment and the staffing and run st. luke's. that is -- we've always had that as kind of a last resort option. it is ready to go. what we would like to see is arizonans provided care in licensed regulated facilities. and so working with our long-term care providers, that would be our first option. however, we do always have st. luke's if that is needed. so that's where we're planning right now. for the testing, so yes, sonora quest done a phenomenal job and so excited they've been able to add capacity. we are looking at the possibility of rapid tests. they are non-test efficient and they really are that one by one or one by two type test like if you had a visitor that was coming in or if you needed to quickly assess whether a patient should be in covid precautions or not. as they become with the rapid, the antigen test, that will be more like a strep test that you would be able to do in a doctor's office. the sensitivity and specificity aren't really what the p.c.r.
is but a really good just quick answer. so we're looking at how we could deploy that statewide. but the other thing that we're doing is looking to enhance the access to testing. so we're working with some of our county health departments to identify areas in pima county and coconino so we can expand testing throughout the state. gov. ducey: that rapid testing sonora quest indicated that they're going to be looking to expand that as their next step? dr. crist: i haven't talked to sonora quest specifically about that. usually those are kind of point of care in like doctors' offices and so it may be something that they're looking at. gov. ducey: and what i would give is we want to do everything we can to break up these large gatherings. that's the evidence that we have that's guided by public health. and i know i get requests from across the board. and i know people in all of niece camps. my decision is being informed and guided by public health. and i know that's not the popular decision. but i believe it's the right
decision. and i know over the course of time as we get through this, arizonans will see that it was that -- that discipline that will steer us through this. reporter: when you see places like prescot with blue on that map and saw the images the last few weeks does that give you pause that maybe you should take that additional step of a statewide mask ordinance? gov. ducey: i want to see the maximum compliance with masks. i want to see every arizonan wear a mask. including all my friends in prescott. and i believe that the decision that we're making in allowing this final decision to be made at the local level, depoliticizes an issue that should never be politicized. and has wider compliance. so i'm going to leave that up to those local officials. and maybe some of the evidence that they're seeing because if you remember, it wasn't that long ago when we gave the authority to the local mayors
and local county supervisors that pye county was at 3% and today like you said they're blue and in a position where action would be helpful. reporter: thank you, guys. >> michael at 12 and holly. reporter: thank you, gotch. with the county officials in those 14, they say they're worried about a clock potentially when it comes to number of deaths. and not having space for those bodies. and like you said the one trend that you said that is going up is the number of i.c.u. beds and hospitals that's taken up. what should people be expecting when it comes to potential deaths moving forward over the next couple of weeks? gov. ducey: well, i can't predict the future. i know that if we -- if we reduce cases, we'll reduce illnesses. and we will reduce hospitalizations. and i just want to re-emphasize what dr. christ said about what happens in the summer and what happens during flu season.
and she also mentions something that i think is lost for much of this discussion. because our focus is and should be laser focused on covid-19. but she talked about the suicides and the drug overdoses that are happening. so public health includes many things. and that's what we're addressing. reporter: but the concern is more than just -- 14 coolers is a lot. they may be trying to go above and beyond. but -- gov. ducey: i think dr. christ answered this question twice. reporter: a couple more quick questions for you. you talked about education making a decision next week. superintendent hoffman said you called the date august 17 aspirational before. how optimistic are you that august 17 is really going to be a date that we can see something reopen? gov. ducey: i'm going to visit with superintendent hoffman and we'll have details next week. reporter: ok. -- ter: and you could
[inaudible] >> last question. reporter: we saw from sonora quest flair leader they said they thought this virus may go away during this summer or at least reduced during the summer. that didn't really seem to follow all the facts that you actually believed that this would go down during the summer. gov. ducey: you have a question for sonora quest, we've been preparing since really sometime in march for a worst case scenario. that's why we talk about 600 plus i.c.u. beds that we haven't had to use. 2,600 hospital beds that we haven't yet have to use. the amount of investment that we've put into testing. so we've always been planning ahead. if you've got a question for leaders of other organizations or businesses, i -- i ask you to ask them. >> we rely on testing. and they said they were behind on testing because of that. gov. ducey: yeah. that sounds like a question for
them. because we want testing ramped up. and we're sharing with people that we're going to have 35,000 tests a day by the end of this month. 65,000 tests a day. by the end of august. and to date, we've conducted 954,000 tests. we need more. and we need more rapid results. nd that's what's on the way. reporter: let me start with you, dr. christ. you mentioned something about a rise in suicides and drug use. and also affecting the fact that we've got a lot more bodies in the morgue. are you somehow linking covid and the virus and any of the orders to the rise in suicides and drug use or is that just seasonal? dr. crist: so the heat-related illnesses is how it would be seasonal. we are seeing an increase in drug overdose and in suicides. not just here in arizona but
nationally. and so could some of that be associated to the isolation and loneliness? that was one of the things that we were worried about. we wanted to make sure that arizonans, when we had the stay at home order also had to stay connected. and we do know that this has been hard, particularly on our students. and so that's just one of many things that's playing a role. unfortunately in what's going on. the medical examiners and at our hospitals. reporter: governor, c.d.c. issues state-specific recommendations every week. in the latest recommendation from the c.d.c., say to limit indoor dining to less than 25%. and decrease gathering limits to 10. we're at 50% and 50%. you keep telling us you're following c.d.c. guidelines. why aren't you doing that? gov. ducey: i'm informed by the guidelines of c.d.c. those are recommendations. we've restricted in-store dining or in-restaurant dining to 50%.
we're five days into this. we're seeing the results that we've seen over the last two weeks. so we're going to continually monitor it. reporter: so at this point you're not interested -- gov. ducey: we're going to continually monitor it. we've also put additional guidance that limits the amount of people that are in there, the key is to socially distance. and make those responsible decisions. but listen, we'll make adjustments and like i said, they will be incremental and they're targeted. and focused on better results for our state. and we'll continue to do it. and they are guided by public health. reporter: thank you. reporter: governor, good to see everybody. i'm sure a lot of arizonans are very happy you extended the eviction moratorium today. maybe not so much landlords. but i want to ask about the renters' assistance program. that money is getting out at a
snail's pace. i mean, we've been doing our independent -- i mean, we're talking $20,000 in a week and maybe even $5,000 in a week. is that program a failure? we've heard about backlogs in counties and what not. there's still a lot of money left. and a lot of people who need it. is that program -- gov. ducey: the program is not a failure. i think you may have seen earlier in the presentation that we've had over $5.4 billion in federal funds go out. that's $840 a week to people. so if you are receiving $840 a week, which -- what we're told for many that were displaced is actually more money than what they were receiving before. their rents are up to date. reporter: and i want to switch gears to educate -- gov. ducey: they should be up to date. and we also i would ask, we don't want people to fall behind on their rents. if the conviction order is not there, so that they don't pay their rent, it's so that they don't lose a place to live.
it's so that -- homelessness is not increased. but if you're receiving those federal dollars, and there's 951,000 arizonans that are in receipt of them, they should be up to speed on their rent and their mortgage. and most of them are. reporter: but there's still that backlog. that backlog in counties and -- gov. ducey: we put additional dollars in there so we could get additional moneys to the county so they could be more responsive. that's -- that's part of the order. reporter: so real quick. just to pivot to education real quick and you're going to be meeting with the superintendent and i know you guys have had a lot of conversations. but you yourself, would you feel comfortable sending your kids back to school now? gov. ducey: yes. reporter: you would gov. ducey: yes. reporter: no qualms about it at all? gov. ducey: i want to turn that over to a public health expert who has three kids that may nb school and you just answer from a public health perspective, please. dr. crist: thank you. that's a great question.
and right now, we had to just make the decision on whether our children would be going back doing either the virtual academy or an in-person school when it resumes. my husband and i made the decision that we would like our children to be back in school. we know based on the information we have right now that kids are at low risk for transmission and for outcomes. i have noticeded some other detrimental impacts from my kids not being in school. and i really would like them to be back in that social -- that social environment. reporter: thank you. >> hank, go ahead. reporter: thank you, governor. so you say that your decisions are guided by science and data. are you willing to commit to opening schools based on science and data? some sort of a metric system rather than an arbitrary date?
gov. ducey: so hank, i'm going to work with superintendent hoffman. our decisions are going to be informed by public health and the safety of our kids, our teachers, the staff. and the people that work inside our schools. there will be more to follow on that. reporter: that didn't answer the question, though, governor. gov. ducey: i said it will be informed by public health. reporter: yeah. and informing by public health, most people would agree that that means going off of data rather than a date. are you sticking to a date? or are you going to set it based on data? gov. ducey: hank, said the date is aspirational. we have some of our school leaders who were listening and already made some decisions around their schools. but the learning is going to begin on or before that date regardless of the decisions that are done either at the state or local level. there will be more to follow on this next week, more specifics. > we're going to courtney.
reporter: hi, governor. gov. ducey: hi, courtney. reporter: i'm going to switch gears here a little bit. in the weeks since you met with black pastors, black parents, to talk about police violence and systemic racism, there have been at least -- there have been several shootings. you've indicated a willingness to diversify -- de-escalation training and body-worn cameras. what is your timetable on getting these things done? gov. ducey: thank you, courtney. the visit and subsequent conversations that i've had with leaders in the community have allowed us to focus on a number of things. one, it was this to do list of actionable or deliverable items. one was the idea that in these areas, they have health issues around covid-19. and they wanted more focused testing. and you've seen that ongoing and you've seen it in today's
announcement as well. the other idea was what the governor's office can do around a.z. versification of post and we're working on that as we speak. and there's additional things that we're going to do from the department of public safety in terms of how we handle training inside the state. and that's being led by my colonel of public instruction, heston sill better and he's -- silbert and working with paul penzone and chris magnus son and others. reporter: are there other things you are looking at doing yourself without legislative help? gov. ducey: well, first i want to say i want legislative help on this. the legislature was onboard for body cameras. and body cameras was another request. and that would have happened in this legislative session except we closed up rather quickly because of what happened with
covid-19. so to me, i think the best policy is done when you've got the -- the branches of government working together. so we want to be working with the community and be doing the right things that are measurable and that will make a difference. three of them we can do by and large through the governor's office. the other, we're going to need the legislature's help. and i think there's more beyond that. reporter: and this is my final question. legislatively, are you looking to have a special session of any sort about covid, about police reform, about anything? gov. ducey: so i continue to talk with legislative leaders. i had a visit with russ debarcia, the speaker of the house, and senator karen fan, president of the senate. i know that we're also engaging the delegation. and as necessary, and if necessary, we will do that. reporter: thank you.
reporter: thank you, governor. gov. ducey: hi, jeremy. reporter: two questions. first, a few weeks ago you ordered the department of liquor to stop issuing licenses for large gatherings. limited the -- restricted gatherings of more than 50 across the state. there are still a lot of events on the calendar for the remainder of the year that the liquor department had already approved. that will have, you know, a lot of people in places that don't require masks. have you given any thought to canceling those events to prevent these large gathering that is could spread covid? gov. ducey: we're going to review things that are on the calendar or things that are going to happen in the future. that have been planned and where government has a role in that decision or local government has a role. we're going to be advocating or making the necessary decisions from our office. reporter: and second question,
the commission on appellate court appointments this week announced in a it was starting to take applications for the redistricting commission. now, that commission according to the arizona constitution is supposed to -- pretty closely reflect the population of arizona. currently it has i think only one non-white member and zero democrats. do you plan to fill -- i think there are four vacant seats, do you plan to fill those seats to make it more reflective of arizona's population before they select these redistricting applicants? gov. ducey: i think you'll see the applicants and the decisions be more reflective. reporter: before the redistricting candidates are selected? gov. ducey: yes. >> wrap it up. one more question. from bloomberg news. brenda, go ahead. reporter: thank you. and hello, governor. you are one of five governors around the country that are facing recall efforts based on some of the executive actions taken during the course of the pandemic. mostly aimed at slowing the spread of the virus such as
shutting down businesses. i'm wondering what your response is to the citizen groups around the country that are organizing these efforts and saying that the actions go beyond the governor's power, that they are unconstitutional, and that they infringe on people's rights. gov. ducey: i would say to them that i'm 100% focused on the pandemic and making the right decisions from the governor's office to protect people and doing the right thing. i'm not paying attention at all to politics or these groups that want to say that a governor doesn't have the legal rights that i have been granted in public health emergency. i can't wait to have government restored to how it was before the pandemic. but that's not where we are today. so with that, i want to just say thank you.
we've seen some encouraging news today. i want to reiterate that it's not a victory lap. it should be a validation of the decisions that we make as citizens in terms of personal actions and personal responsibility that we take -- can make a difference in our state. i want to thank arizonans from across the board for staying focused on the task at hand and what's in front of us. let's keep pressing in this direction. d if you will, if you -- the message is you are safer at home. but if you need to go out what i'm asking you to do is limit that mobility. if you need to go out to eat, to limit that mobility and head home. and make sure you're wearing a mask. that you're helping other people understand the gravity of the situation, there's strength in numbers here. and the more numbers that are making the better decisions, the better off we will all be.
again, thank you to >> here is a look at our live coverage friday. eastern on c-span, treasury secretary steven mnuchin joins the head of the small business administration for hearing on how the paycheck attraction loan program is helping small businesses, affected by the coronavirus. on c-span2, at 11:00 a.m. eastern, a roundtable with dr. anthony felt her. later, formal federal reserve chairs a ben bernanke and janet yellen testified to the impact on the county. look at hown3, a covid-19 is affecting social security beneficiaries. the house ways and means subcommittee hearing will get underway at noon eastern. an hour, national consumers league executive director sally greenberg discusses consumer